Head in the Clouds: New Work by Alicia Zanoni

The City Gallery at the Harrison Center will host the work of artist Alicia Zanoni October 5-26, 2018. Alicia’s work can be described as thoughtful, exuberant and colored by emotion, and her latest offerings promise to create a heart-felt and uplifting exhibit.

“Head in the Clouds” is a collection that was created after the artist, having worked for two years in a studio without windows, moved into a studio that features large windows and natural light. Alicia says that after this move she “felt a shift she couldn’t quite describe.” The paintings in this show are the evidence of her inner conversation exploring the connection between ourselves and the sky. Alicia noted that when she left her former, window-less studio only to find puddles on the ground or evidence of a weather related event, she could feel isolated and disconnected from the rest of the world who had witnessed the storm. 

Artwork in the City Gallery is, by definition,“place-based” art, and this relates to our city and the impact that the sky has on it.  As Alicia says, “Walking around Indy, looking at the clouds, I find it interesting to see how a place can feel so different, and even seem to take on a different personality depending upon the sky.” Zanoni goes on to say, “We all exist under the same sky, and therefore it connects us all.” 

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All of the paintings in this collection feature clouds in some way, but more than being simply beautiful images, they are each examples of how the sky reflects as well as impacts our internal experience. Alicia says, “Clouds feel very emotional to me in that they rise and fall, they are light or heavy, they change in a moment and they are constantly changing  and reactive. Clouds, like emotions, impact our experience of whatever we are seeing or doing. The sky is connected or reflective of our emotional experience, and on the flip side, our emotions are reflective of the clouds.”

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As I headed to Alicia’s studio for a sneak peak at the paintings that will be featured in this show, I couldn’t help but to think back on the effervescence and power of the work she did for  her September 2017 show called ”Undercurrent” which appeared in the Harrison Gallery.  I love the way Alicia is able to capture not only physical beauty and light within her work, but also the emotional impact and mood of a given setting. Her new work continues in this tradition. Even works that effectively portray peaceful, calm, pensive or somber moods seem to be rooted in a foundation of enthusiasm and even joy. I believe this is the excitement she brings to the process of exploring her theme. It’s as if she has asked herself a very compelling question and she needs to find the answer with her brush and canvas. The first image (on the left) is unfinished and seems to send home this point. Though clouds are forming on the horizon, the underpainting is warm and ebullient, promising that even if the sky ends up filling with clouds, the spirit of the work will still be rooted in joy.  For me, this work invites me to let doubt and hope live in the same place.   


Alicia created this work as the result of of her own musing and she says, “There seemed to be something important about the sky and the weather that I wanted to explore.” Anyone who views this work will be the lucky beneficiary of Alicia’s personal and emotional exploration. 

The show opens this Friday, October 6 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm in the City Gallery in the Harrison Center and will hang through October 26.